"They remind me of a piranha around a chunk of meat," said Baylor Coach Grant Teaff of the Texas defenders before the Bears' 24-21 loss to the Longhorns. "They're always making that water splash. I'm a defensive coach and I admire it. I like to watch it like a beautiful painting." Indeed, the Texas defense was No. 1 in the country in three categories going in against Baylor, but the Bears were able to teach the Longhorns a thing or two about offense. Trailing 24-7 in the fourth quarter, Baylor rallied for two touchdowns to make it 24-21. The Bears' final drive was snuffed out when Texas Cornerback Mossy Cade intercepted a pass near midfield with 13 seconds to play. Baylor, now 7-3-1 and headed for the Bluebonnet Bowl, ended up with 320 yards passing, 233 more than the average allowed by the Longhorns this season and 25 more than Texas could muster in total offense.
The best team in the Pac-10 at the moment may well be Washington State. After a 2-4 start, the Cougars have won five straight, including last week's 17-6 upset of Washington in the wind and rain in Seattle. Thus, for the second year in a row, Washington State is responsible for keeping the Huskies out of the Rose Bowl. "The Cougars prepared for us as well as they ever did," said Washington Coach Don James, whose team is once again headed for the Aloha Bowl. The mainstay for State was Kerry Porter, a sophomore tailback who ran for 169 yards on the soggy turf.
And once again, the beneficiary of the Huskies' slip was UCLA. The Bruins played a lackluster first half against USC and trailed 10-6. They then heard the halftime score from Seattle—Washington State 10, Washington 3—and came to life. "It was the motivator that turned our team loose in the third quarter," said Coach Terry Donahue. UCLA scored three TDs in a six-minute span in the third quarter—on a seven-yard pass to Karl Dorrell, a 12-yard run by Kevin Nelson and a 17-yard dash by Bryan Wiley.
Oregon and Oregon State, long symbols of ineptitude in the Pac-10, battled to a 0-0 draw in the wind and rain of Eugene. Between them they fumbled 11 times, threw five interceptions and missed four field goal attempts. BYU defeated Utah 55-7 as Steve Young ended the regular season by completing 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and six TDs. Among the gaggle of NCAA records now held by Young are those for total offense for a season (395.1 yards per game) and season pass-completion average (71.3%).
The trouble with trick plays is that they don't always work. Trailing Michigan 17-14 with 12:08 to play, Ohio State tried the old fake-fumble play. Buckeye Center Joe Dooley faked the snap to Mike Tomczak and then placed the ball down in the backfield. While the rest of the line moved to the left, Left Guard Kirk Lowdermilk was supposed to pull back, pick up the ball and run untouched around the right side. The trouble was the alertness of Michigan's defensive line, notably Tackle Mike Hammerstein, who surged across the line and fell on the ball. Ten plays later Wolverine Quarterback Steve Smith hit Tight End Eric Kattus for the eight-yard touchdown pass that made the score 24-14. The final: Michigan 24, Ohio State 21.
With a 23-22 loss to Air Force, Notre Dame ended the season with a 6-5 record. The Irish, under Coach Gerry Faust, lost their last two games of 1981 and their last three of '82 and '83. The Falcons' special weapon was the hand of Defensive Tackle Chris Funk, who blocked two Mike Johnston field-goal attempts, the second a 31-yarder with four seconds remaining. "We felt Johnston was a low kicker," said Falcon Coach Ken Hatfield. "Normally we would go low and try to put pressure on the center. But this time we told our kids to stand straight up and go high."
After North Carolina defeated Duke 34-27, Tar Heels Coach Dick Crum knocked lightly on the door of the losers' dressing room. When he entered, Blue Devil Coach Steve Sloan called for quiet, and Crum walked up to Quarterback Ben Bennett and handed him the game ball. "Our kids wanted to give you the game ball," said Crum. "You had four great football seasons." Bennett had completed 27 of 35 passes for 323 yards, giving him 9,614 yards passing in his career and the top spot in the record books, ahead of the 9,536 amassed by Brigham Young's Jim McMahon from 1977 to '81. Said Bennett, "When a class organization like the Carolina football program sends its coach to give you the game ball, it makes you feel good."
Mississippi State, trailing Ole Miss 24-23, attempted a 27-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining. Bulldog Kicker Artie Cosby sent the ball in the right direction. He hit it high enough and, apparently, far enough, but it was "blocked" by a gust of wind. "It was like something reached down and stopped the ball in flight," said Mississippi State Coach Emory Bellard. "The wind simply blew the ball back away from the goal post." That turnaround, impressive as it was, is no more dramatic than that of the Rebels team under first-year Coach Billy Brewer. After losing seven games in 1982 and five of its first six in this season, Ole Miss has defeated TCU, Vanderbilt, LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi State to earn a berth in the Independence Bowl.
Even more impressive is the reversal at Kentucky. The Wildcats, 0-10-1 a year ago, finished 6-4-1 under second-year Coach Jerry Claiborne and, despite their 10-0 loss to Tennessee last week, will play in the Hall of Fame Bowl against West Virginia.
With 19 seconds left and Pitt leading 24-21, Penn State Quarterback Doug Strang was sacked on his own 40 yard line. The play took six seconds and the clock stood at :13, but the Nittany Lions had jumped offside—and the flags had been thrown—before the snap. Because the clock at Pitt Stadium shouldn't have been started and because it couldn't readily be reset, the officials ruled—and informed both benches—that six seconds would be added to the game after the clock ran out. By the time 0:00 flashed on the board, Strang had marched the Lions to the Pitt 16. At that juncture, hundreds of Pitt fans ran onto the field to celebrate their apparent victory. After the mob was cleared from the field, Nick Gancitano kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Penn State a 24-24 tie. "I'm dumbfounded," said Pitt Tackle Bill Fralic. "The clock said zero. I saw it." Said Lion Coach Joe Paterno, "It's not my nature to be happy with a tie. We were going to try a fake field goal, but our seniors worked so hard I wanted them to leave with something."
For the second week in a row Syracuse played the spoiler, following up its 21-10 upset of Boston College with a 27-16 triumph over West Virginia. The Orange defensive line did unto Mountaineer Quarterback Jeff Hostetler as it had done unto Eagle Doug Flutie, sacking Hostetler six times and harassing him into three interceptions.
Against hitherto unbeaten Holy Cross, Flutie had a difficult first half, completing three of 16 passes with two interceptions. But after leading only 10-0 at the half, BC—and Flutie—came on to win 47-7.
Harvard and Yale may have 100 games under their belts (see box), but in the 119th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, the Engineers prevailed 22-14 as Linebacker John Shigo made 11 tackles and set up a field goal with a 22-yard interception return.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Texas Tech Wide Receiver Leonard Harris, a 5'8", 153-pound senior, caught 12 passes for 248 yards and one touchdown in a 43-41 loss to Houston. He had catches of 41, 38, 36 and 29 yards.
DEFENSE: In a 27-16 win over West Virginia, Syracuse Tackle Tim Green had 12 tackles, including two sacks and three others for losses. He pressured Quarterback Jeff Hostetler out of the pocket five times.
CALL IT A BOO-LA BOO-LA BROUHAHA
The tickets for Harvard's 100th meeting with Yale were especially quaint, decorated as they were with outlines of Elihu Yale (in blue) and John Harvard (in crimson) above an 1816 poem, Song, by Sir Walter Scott. ("Then strip, lads, and to it, though sharp be the weather,/And if, by mischance, you should happen to fall,/There are worse things in life than a tumble on heather,/And life is itself but a game at football.") A crowd of 70,097 gathered, many of them paying $5 for a souvenir program, and Harvard, led by Quarterback Greg Gizzi's 93 yards running and 94 passing, triumphed 16-7 to gain a share, with Penn, of the Ivy championship.
For the Elis, the loss ended their worst season in 111 years of football; they had a 1-9 record. Not surprisingly, their performance has produced a lot of disgruntled alumni. To many of them the culprits are Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti and Athletic Director Frank Ryan, who's better known for having quarterbacked the Cleveland Browns in the 1960s.
In 1979 Giamatti cut back on football admissions. "When we were freshmen," says Eli senior Wingback Roger Javens, "it looked like Harvard had 100 guys and we had 30." In 1980 Giamatti gave a speech decrying overemphasis on college athletics and the excesses of recruiting. Since then Yale's assistant coaches have had to attend to duties on campus during the prime recruiting season, and funds reportedly have been cut back to the point that there was no soap in the showers for the Eli football players during a two-week stretch in September.
Coach Carmen Cozza, secure with a 119-53-3 record in 19 years at Yale, is pointing no fingers. "I don't want anyone but myself blamed for a losing season," he says. But the alumni, who have always revered Cozza, won't go along with that. Says 1955 Eli Captain Phil Tarasovic, "Ryan and Giamatti are destroying the program."
SI TOP 20
1. NEBRASKA (11-0)
2. TEXAS (10-0)
3. AUBURN (9-1)
4. MIAMI (10-1)
5. ILLINOIS (10-1)
6. BYU (10-1)
7. SMU (9-1)
8. CLEMSON (9-1-1)
9. GEORGIA (8-1-1)
10. FLORIDA (7-2-1)
11. MICHIGAN (9-2)
12. IOWA (9-2)
13. BOSTON COLL. (8-2)
14. MARYLAND (8-3)
15. ALABAMA (7-2)
16. OHIO STATE (8-3)
17. WEST VIRGINIA (8-3)
18. PITT (8-2-1)
19. E. CAROLINA (8-3)
20. AIR FORCE (8-2)